tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 23, 2015 4:00pm-4:31pm PDT
on this saturday night, not guilty. the verdict for a cleveland police officer in the shooting death of two unarmed motorists and protestors take to the streets once again. high anxiety after weeks of rain rising rivers threaten record flooding forcing thousands to prepare for the worst. >> historic vote as the irish say yes to same sex marriage voting for inclusion in a land where tradition runs deep. >> the bomber, led attacks in london and was tied to a u.s. soldier in iraq. >> and from the deep yes, the sharks are back on this memorial day weekend. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt, substituting tonight, peter alexander.
>> it was an emotional conclusion to another dramatic case focussing on police and what some see as the excessive use of force. in cleveland today a white officer was acquitted in the shooting deaths of two unarmed black motorists. it ended with 137 shots fired all of them by officers. after deadly accounts with police in baltimore, ferguson, and other cities, the verdict is sparking new outrage in cleveland tonight and kevin is there. >> reporter: cleveland has been preparing for this verdict for weeks and tonight community leaders are urging calm as anger spreads over today's acquittal. >> i find the defendant not guilty of counts one and two as indicted. >> reporter: a not guilty verdict for the police officer charged with shooting and killing an unarmed couple in 2012. he was emotional and among 13 officers that opened fire on
timmy russell and melissa williams during a high speed chase. more than 100 officers and 60 police vehicles were involved in an incident that ended in 137 shots being fired. police officers mistook the sound of the couple's car backfiring for gunshots. >> the initial decision to use force was constitutionally reasonable. >> he was the only officer charged. he continued firing even after the couple was subdued. >> we stood toe to toe trying to coerce and put away a law abiding citizen that did his job in this case. outside, protests and anger amid heavy police presence. melissa william's younger brother attended trial nearly every day. >> he was supposed to have got found guilty for murder. melissa williams and timmy russell was living before he got on the top of the hood of the car and started shooting into the windshield. >> today's verdict comes in the wake of several
controversial deaths involving police. officer darren wilson was not charged following the shooting death of michael brown in ferguson missouri. in baltimore a grand jury indicted six officers currently awaiting trial for the death of freddie grey and in cleveland a 12-year-old boy shot by police while holding a toy gun. he and his defense decided on a bench trial instead of a jury trial which some view as a good tactical move. >> they recognized that the judge typically has a greater level of legal training and is not necessarily going to be swayed by emotion. >> reporter: tonight another american city is poised for protest. >> that was my cousin. that was my baby cousin. i'm going to tell y'all something right now, we have no justice. >> reporter: and tonight peter is fbi and the u.s. attorney's office and the
department of justice all say that they are going to be taking a closer look at this case. peter. >> thank you, tonight investigators in washington are tracking down new leads in that murder mystery that captivated the nation's capital. the prime suspect is behind bars but police believe at least one other person was involved in the brutal killings of a family and their housekeeper. kelly o'donnell is on the story for us tonight. >> reporter: today evidence work is still underway at this multimillion dollar crime scene where things that once filled a family's life are sad tragedy. the savopoulos family and their housekeeper were held capital for 19 hours, brutally killed, and the home set ablaze. >> we'll continue to investigate this case and bring all charges that are appropriate in the coming weeks. >> reporter: investigators say they believe
the one man in custody, daron wint had help. >> we intend to unseal additional search war rants in the coming days. >> reporter: a possible new clue, a print found on a water bottle. they want to conduct new tests on wint. >> it's an important lead. if it's from a person that's not wint it could identify another killer in the case. >> reporter: another trail is the ransom money itself. investigators made a strong claim, that an asis tantd that worked for mr. savopoulos lied to them about how and when the $40,000 in ransom was delivered. that assistant was not charged. cash could be another clue. at the scene of the capture thursday night u.s. marshals saw a large stack of what appeared to be $100 bills and others traveling with the suspect but not charged admitted to purchasing money orders after the murders. >> it's about the money. who spent the money. who has the money, who has the money orders. >> reporter: d.c.'s
police chief says they believe the family was targeted but the why and the who else is involved remain big questions tonight. kelly o'donnell, nbc news, washington. in the plains of north texas tonight lots of anxiety for thousands that live among rivers that could rise to record levels as relentless rains keep pounding that region. we have the latest from nbc's mark potter. >> reporter: after heavy rains during the wettest month on record here the lakes and rivers near wichita falls texas are spilling over. racing the clock, residents are doing whatever they can to protect their homes and businesses before the floods come. hundreds along the wichita river are already obeying evacuation orders taking with them what little they can hoping for the best and helping each other. >> you drop what you're doing and jump in your car and drive over and help them. >> reporter: based on earlier weather forecasts authorities thought the flood here would be moderate and wouldn't last long and were feeling relieved.
but then during a briefing with the national weather service a startling update friday afternoon. >> looks like it's going to hit hard and heavy. >> reporter: calling now for a potentially historic flood that could effect thousands of homes and last until late next week due to more expected rain. >> this has turned into a more serious situation than anticipated. >> reporter: this afternoon officials announced they're widening the evacuation zone planning for the worst case scenario. wichita county sheriff is urging residents to seek higher ground. >> we want everybody out of harms way. listen to what we're telling them and be able to evacuate and get out of the areas that they need to. >> reporter: meantime heavy rains also hit other parts of texas.
in corpus christie it destroys cars and neighborhood streets. in eastern texas the swollen trinity river effects homes and elk city oklahoma shutdown a gas station and surrounding roads. and here in this low lying neighborhood of wichita falls it's a nervous waiting game tonight as this water continues to rise very very slowly. unfortunately, these homes are expected to flood along with many more now you. >> mark potter in texas. thank you. for more on what's happening in texas and this weekend, let's bring in weather channel meteorologist mike slidell. good evening to you. >> reporter: hi peter. in oklahoma they're dealing with horrible flash flooding in the western part of the state. six inches of rain have fallen this afternoon. they're pulling people out of homes and cars in elk city and that threat will continue for millions tonight and sunday. look for the expanse of the flash flood watches. some of these go into monday morning. there will be plenty of storms and rain on sunday. the severe threat is low so we're not overly concerned about tornadoes. most of the impact will be from the drenching rain
fall. as much as 5 inches in spots from texas across the southern plains including oklahoma city where tonight's storms will make it the wettest month on record there. 14.5 inches and counting. back here at wichita falls they have wiped out a four year disasterous drought in four weeks. this time last year they were trucking water in. this time they're watching the radar to see if it sets a new record crest in the coming days, peter. mike, thank you. there is no memorial holiday weekend of celebration on what was a pristine stretch of the california coast tainted by an oil spill that has an army of workers trying to control the damage there. hallie jackson has the new developments as well as an interview with the ceo of the pipeline company involved. >> reporter: today a new look from the air at the spill on the santa barbara coast after oil leaked into the pacific by a pipeline owned by plains all american. greg armstrong again
apologized but acknowledged sorry is not enough. >> is your company safe enough? >> we're always trying to get better. we're shooting for zero releases. so we're not safe enough for us to be satisfied. >> are zero incidents possible? >> today i don't think the answer is yes. we all strive, any time we get into a car we strive for zero incidents. none of us expect to have an accident but they all do happen and sometimes bad things happen to good people. >> reporter: clean up crews sift through the sand. saefs buried oil deeper on the beach. the slicks keep moving. this coastline is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the country. now rescuers are helping birds and sea lions caught in the spill. >> a couple more washings should get rid of all the oil in his coat. >> reporter: two state beaches may reopen next week.
too late for the memorial day weekend but the oil spill hasn't deterred visitors from flocking to the santa barbara about 20 miles south of the clean up zone. >> i don't mean to minimize it but it's up the coast. so not reaching us yet. >> but you're ready to get in the water and go canoeing. >> absolutely. >> coldness and all. >> in santa barbara, business as usual. up the coast, anything but. >> responders say out on the water there are areas of light oil but the rest is disapating. meanwhile, veterinarians are getting ready to release five birds back into the wild. thank you. there is word tonight that general motors may soon face criminal charges related to faulty ignition switches on millions of cars tied to at least 84 deaths. federal investigators say they have found evidence of wrong doing in gm's failure to disclose the defect. the auto maker is reportedly negotiating what could be a record penalty in the case.
in ireland they put the question to the people, should same sex couples have the right to get married? tonight the results of the referendum are in and their answer is a resounding yes. nbc's bill neely has the story from dublin. >> reporter: they are celebrating a world's first, never before has a country's voters made same-sex marriage the law. ireland did it decisively. >> this is a descent civilized tolerant country. this is the way to go in the 21st century. >> reporter: every area but one voted yes. proof ireland has changed from being a deeply conservative country. >> we're so proud to be irish today. >> reporter: the vote was 2-1 in favor of changing ireland's constitution. a social revolution say the winners. this result which would be been unimaginable here two decades ago is a milestone for ireland and a message to other countries including the vatican
will take note of. the catholic church opposed the move. one arch bishop says it needs to do a reality check. but not everyone was in step. for many this vote doesn't change traditional values. >> i think every child should have a father and a mother. >> reporter: the no campaign claim redefining marriage puts children at risk. >> when you start telling them that gender doesn't matter, male or female doesn't matter, fathers and mothers don't matter, that's something that's going to be in children. >> reporter: that's a view many researchers and majority of irish voters don't share. but even traditional ireland decide it's time for change in a country where homosexuality was still illegal in the early 1990s. >> we're a small nation with a huge heart which today shines brightly across the world. >> reporter: and the party has begun here after a vote that
will resound far beyond their shores. nbc news dublin ireland. when nightly news continues on this saturday, the family of fallen u.s. soldier finds justice as a bomb maker is caught and convicted years later. and later here, the nonhuman touch. how robots may be just the right prescription for some children in the hospital. t the right prescription woman: it's been a journey to get where i am. and i didn't get here alone. there were people who listened along the way. people who gave me options. kept me on track. and through it all my retirement never got left behind. so today, i'm prepared for anything we may want tomorrow to be. every someday needs a plan. let's talk about your old 401(k) today. sunday dinners at my house... it's a full day for me, and i love it. but when i started having back pain
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threats to u.s. soldiers during the long war in iraq. ieds that killed and mamed so many americans. as memorial day approached the family of one of those soldiers found justice. not in iraq but in a london courtroom where a british man was convicted of making the bomb that killed a u.s. army sergeant. >> reporter: sergeant randy johnson was on his third tour in iraq when he found himself on a dusty road west of baghdad in 2007. a time when road side bombs like this one were the number one killer of american soldiers in iraq. private luke stinson was driving their vehicle when a bomb ripped through the metal under sergeant johnson's feet. >> it's like watching a movie in fast forward. everything went by so fast but it took so long. >> stinson held sergeant johnson as he died. now the he is in prison for
johnson's murder. >> this man was building bombs to kill american soldiers serving their country in 2007. >> investigators say he spent ten years in syria. they say he was making bombs designed to destroy american convoys in iraq. in november of 2007, just two months after sergeant johnson was killed, he came home to north london. he had a wife, a child, and a steady job driving one of london's iconic black cabs. he had been fingerprinted on his return to london. in 2012 investigators searched his home and found a bomb making manual but a key evidence came from a piece of a similar bomb analyzed by the fbi. his fingerprints in yellow linking him to the bomb that killed sergeant johnson. >> the fbi unit has hundreds of thousands of bits of bombs to go through and they're working their way through it and it's
that backlog that's taken the time. >> at trial he claims the bombs were meant to protect iraqi sunnis to militants. he was sentenced to 38 years for johnson's murder. >> he was a good soldier, good leader, good friend and i hope it brings a little peace to his family. >> reporter: justice at last for a father, a husband, a fallen soldier. nbc news, london. and up next, the shark alert on this holiday weekend. shark alert on this holiday weekend. vo: today's the day. more and more people with type 2 diabetes are learning about long-acting levemir®. as my diabetes changed it got harder to control my blood sugar. today, i'm asking about levemir®. vo: levemir® is an injectable insulin that can give you blood sugar control for up to 24 hours. and levemir® helps lower your a1c. levemir® lasts 42 days
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day weekend many beaches around the country are opening for the season and in some places that means sharing the water with creatures you may get closer to than you like. we're talking about sharks that have part of southern california on alert. we get that story from nbc's joe fryer. >> reporter: they prompted warnings at a couple of southern california beaches. >> you heard about the sharks? >> we did. >> what do you think? >> it's scary. >> reporter: more than a dozen great whites have been spotted swimming and feeding about 15 feet from shore at huntington beach. >> i'm going to stay out of the water. >> reporter: they're juveniles about 5 to 7 feet long just like jeffrey jacobson. >> i'm 6 feet. >> it's you size. >> but with bigger teeth. >> reporter: so far they're not aggressive and not scaring away brave boarders. >> if i go out and see a swarm i'm right back on the beach. >> reporter: while the shark sightings might keep some out of the water. this is good news for
researchers. the sign the once struggling great white population is growing. >> shark populations around the world are in trouble so this is a real potential bright spot. >> reporter: sightings are happenings in unlikely places. a one on the great white is a social media sensation tweeting every time she surfaces allowing her 69,000 followers to track her pings and have a little fun. mary lee is like the great white kardashian of the ocean tweeted a fan. back out west lifeguards want people to be aware and cautious but this holiday weekend it's the rip currents that might have the biggest bite. joe fryer, nbc news huntington beach, california. don't say you weren't warned. when we come back a new member of the medical team working wonders for young patients. why pause to take a pill?
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talk to your doctor and visit humira.com this is humira at work finally tonight, medical care is criticized for relying too much on machines and not enough on human connection. one hospital in canada found a machine with a magic touch for children trying to recover. >> reporter: they call him super cooper. a 5-year-old with boundless energy. hospitalized two weeks ago after a lawn mower accident took his foot. >> did you get to choose the colors? >> it was really
difficult for me. i was involved with the accident and it was -- every father's worst nightmare. >> reporter: but the alberta's children hospital had a unique treatment for cooper. meet medi. two feet tall, 11 pounds and plenty of heart. >> put something in my hand, please. he thinks it's so cool. >> there's nothing like seeing kids walk into a procedural room and seeing medi. their faces light up. they follow what he says and does. it's almost hypnotic. >> reporter: she created medi after he research showed robots ease pain and stress in children in ways humans can't. >> they enjoyed the experience and the nurses were more relaxed. >> reporter: his routine injections for asthma
is almost fun. >> he does something to distract me. >> does it work? >> yes. >> what's interesting about medi. >> my name is medi. i'm a robot. >> okay. >> i'll play with you so you feel better. >> i feel much better. >> we know from some studies that kids are actually more likely to follow instructions from a robot than adults. >> cooper talks to him like he's a person. he actually thinks you're my best friend. so he goes come on, let's go. let's go for a walk. >> reporter: with medi in his life cooper is actually looking forward to what's next. >> he's excited for that. >> reporter: his creations were in six hospitals throughout canada and one in the u.s. proving the future of healing now partly in the hands of robots. nbc news alberta, canada. >> we're rooting for
you cooper. that's going to do it for "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. i'm peter alexander reporting from new york. for all of us here at nbc news, good night. nbc bay area news begins with breaking news. >> breaking news in the south bay, the video showing the smoke coming from a vegetation fire crews battled the flames as temperatures warmed up. good evening, everyone. >> thank you for joining us, a busy memorial day weekend for
firefighters already a vegetation fire now coming dangerously close to homes in san jose. >> the fire broke out on chula vista drive. very close to the san jose country club in allum rock park. we're live at the scene with more. mary anne? >> talk about a close call terry. this fire came dangerously close to million-dollar homes up here in the east foothills, you can see here that firefighters are hosing down and mopping up on this hillside. and they're all stationed in front of various homes out here. on the hill. in case the wind shifts this started as a grass fire. but quickly spread to three alarms. flames torched a palm tree and winds fanned the flames causing the fire to burn a chunk of the hillside. the fire came close to multimillion-dollar homes and we talked to one man who started to hose down his home. >> went on top of the house, i'm like i